"This is called the 'kitchen' - you're not supposed to be in the kitchen. If you go in there and stay in there, it's a fault."

That's what my friend said when we were being taught the rules of Pickleball.

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What is Pickleball you might be wondering? No - it's not a game where you use a pickle as a ball. It's a combination between tennis, badminton and ping pong, I think that's the best way to describe it. You have a net, a court, paddles, and a lightweight ball (similar to a whiffle ball). Players can face off as singles or doubles, just as in traditional tennis.

RULES OF PICKLEBALL

Although pickleball is played on a court, the rules of the game more closely resemble table tennis or badminton than traditional tennis, according to the beginners guide of Pickleball from How They Play.

  • The game begins with one side serving the pickleball, using the paddle (which is larger than a ping pong paddle) to hit the pickleball (which is a light, plastic, hole-covered whiffle ball).
  • To properly serve the ball, the player must keep one foot behind the back line and strike the ball with an underhand swing, aiming at the service court located diagonally over the net, and clearing the no-volley zone (the kitchen.)
  • Service starts from the right hand court. Only one fault is allowed.
  • In the case of doubles, both players get to serve once, and then the serve is taken over by the opposing team.
  • Both sides must allow the pickleball to bounce first before hitting it with the paddle at least one time from the start of the game. After that happens, players may volley the ball (hit it without allowing it to bounce), provided they are not within the no-volley zone within seven feet of the net (marked on the court).
  • A player or team scores points only when they are serving. A pickleball game is played to 11 points and a win must be by two points.

Similar to tennis, the following moves are faults in the game of pickleball:

  • Failing to clear the net.
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds.
  • Volleying the ball from within, or while a foot is in the no-volley zone.
  • Volleying the ball before it has bounced on a first serve or first return.

For me, it was easier to play and understand the rules as time went on. Not so much to understand all at one time.

Beth Coombs/TSM

WHERE CAN I PLAY LOCALLY?

We played at the Sherrill Brook Park in New Hartford! They have 6 courts to play on.

Kaylin/TSM
Kaylin/TSM

According to Places 2 Play, here's a few other spots:

  • Parkway Center - Utica
  • Oneida YMCA - Oneida
  • Midstate Athletic Community Center - Cicero
  • Northwest Family YMCA - Baldwinsville

WHY IS IT CALLED PICKLEBALL?

According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. Three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum — whose kids were bored with are credited for creating game.

  • According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”
  • According to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Pritchards’ dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to McCallum, “The Pritchards had a dog named Pickles, and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyways, what the hell, let’s just call it pickleball.”
  • Others claim both accounts may actually be true. In the early years, no official name was assigned to the game. However, a year or two after the game was invented, the Pritchards purchased a cocker spaniel and named it Pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “pickleball” was it.

Regardless, it's a fun way to get out and enjoy the nice weather. You also get a great workout without realizing it. We bought our paddles at Five Below - but you can also find them on Amazon for a good price.